cover image My Dog and I

My Dog and I

Luca Tortolini, illus. by Felicita Sala. Milky Way, $20.99 (48p) ISBN 978-1-990252-30-3

“I’ve always wanted a dog,” confesses the brown-skinned, blue-eyed child who narrates this droll adventure sporting a lavender toque and red glasses. “And then one day, as I was walking in the park, I found one.” Readers realize right away that the furry creature is much too big to be a pup; passersby start when they see the large, lumbering brown beast following the child home. “I’ll take care of you,” Tortolini writes in the child’s voice. An attempt to find the animal’s owner leads nowhere, and the creature, which is both cuddly with the child and intimidating to others, offers companionship and security. The youth is bereft when the animal disappears, but events soon offer consolation in the form of another animal: “A cat!” The book’s most moving passages describe the way the first beast transforms the child’s life—“The big kids don’t pull my hair like they did before”—while soft, pastel-like lines and touches of warm, saturated color from Sala (As Night Falls) invite readers into the intimacy that the two share. It’s an extended, fully developed tale of mistaken identity that examines how a happenstance meeting can take one to a place of care and community. Ages 4–8. (Nov.)